Planning a family can be both exciting and overwhelming in equal measure, but it can be all the more daunting if you are considering fertility treatment to help start or expand your family.
At Lanyon Bowdler, we will work with you to ensure everything runs smoothly and to protect your legal and personal interests.
There are a wide range of fertility treatments available to couples and individuals but, regardless of the route you take, there will be a number of important legal issues to consider.
Our dedicated team of family law specialists will provide you with comprehensive and effective guidance, and will help you to explore all your options so that you can make fully informed decisions and make the best choices for you and your family.
We understand the challenges and uncertainty you face but are committed to providing you with maximum support as we work together towards a happy and successful outcome.
At Lanyon Bowdler, we are able to advise you on all the legal aspects surrounding fertility treatment and assisted conception including donor conception, IVF, IUI and surrogacy.
If fertility treatment is taking place without the need for donor eggs, donor sperm or a surrogate, the legal process should be relatively straightforward as there will be no question of legal parenthood and who holds parental responsibility for any children born as a result.
If conception occurs with the help of a surrogate or a known sperm donor however the legal considerations can become more complex and it is likely that you will have to arrange the transfer of legal rights for your child from the donor or surrogate to you and/or your partner.
A number of key decisions that may need to be made include:
You will also need to consider how the relationship between you and a known donor or surrogate will be managed, and legal safeguards should be put in place to protect you in the event of a dispute or disagreement.
We are here to help you negotiate the entire process and are fully committed to providing the very best legal service possible, working with a level of dedication and understanding that is unrivalled by any other law firm.
If you are preparing to undergo fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) it is important that you take the proper legal advice to ensure that you have a clear and comprehensive understanding of your rights, the process and the different options that are available to you.
Our experienced team are highly knowledgeable about all the latest developments in processes such as egg freezing and embryo testing and can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.
We will discuss everything with you at length and can provide guidance on complex matters such as the use of eggs, sperm and embryos following a relationship breakdown, concerns about storage or issues that may have arisen following conception.
Where required, we can also provide information on your legal status as a parent, parental responsibility and where necessary, we will assist you in the preparation of any required documentation, making sure that all the correct paperwork is prepared and submitted in full and within the relevant timescales.
Conceiving a child with the assistance of a donor can throw up a range of issues that will require careful thought and deliberation.
We have a wealth of experience working closely with those who have pursued this route extremely successfully and are on hand to provide guidance and information on all aspects of donor conception.
We will help you to identify the best course of action and will put a clear and robust agreement between you and your donor in place, to protect you in the event of a dispute arising.
If a woman conceives with an egg or sperm donated through a licensed clinic in the UK she, as the child’s birth mother, is their legal parent, even if a donor egg is used. Her partner, in most circumstances, will automatically become the child’s second legal parent and named on the birth certificate, even if a sperm donor is used.
A donor’s details will be held on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s Register of Information, however, and anyone conceived as a result of donation will have the right to contact the donor and any genetic half-siblings once they reach the age of eighteen.
Legal parenthood can be affected however by the decision to conceive with the assistance of a known sperm donor.
The law is clear that the birth mother of a child is always their legal mother, even when the egg is donated by someone known to the couple or individual hoping to conceive.
The law is slightly more complicated when a woman conceives with sperm donated by someone she knows. In this scenario, there is the potential for the donor to be recognised as the child’s legal father with the accompanying rights and responsibilities. The legal position will very much depend on your individual circumstances and we recommend seeking bespoke legal advice as early as possible to be clear on your rights and legal status in relation to your child.
Co-parenting is an increasingly popular option and, if you wish to co-parent with someone who you are not in a relationship with, we can advise on assisted conception and the law on co-parenting arrangements, as well as ensuring that you have the correct legal relationship with your child by preparing and completing all the relevant documentation. We are here to support and guide you through your decision so that you and those you are hoping to jointly parent with can enter into any agreement wholly aware of all the implications.
For example, a single or gay man wanting to become a father will potentially have more legal rights as a co-parent than by simply acting as a known donor.
We often find that co-parenting arrangements are made between more than two people and, regardless of the numbers involved, it is sensible to put a co-parenting agreement in place to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each parent and to safeguard against any disputes that could possibly arise in the future with regard to the upbringing of your child. We can advise you on what should be included and will draft the agreement for you.
Regardless of the stage you are at on your co-parenting journey, we have the experience and expertise to help.
The law surrounding surrogacy can be particularly difficult and challenging to navigate but our specialist lawyers can provide you with clear and straight-forward advice so that you are fully aware of your position and where you stand.
Surrogacy laws in the UK are very strict to ensure that all those involved are fully protected, especially any children born as a result. From supporting you with your decision, advising you during the process and applying for your parental order, to transfer legal rights and responsibility for your child from the surrogate to you and where applicable your partner, we can help with everything.
If your surrogate is based overseas, there is an added layer of complexity but at Lanyon Bowdler, we specialise in international surrogacy and can help you to navigate the different legal jurisdictions, advise on your legal status and on how to bring your child home to the UK legally and officially.
Surrogacy can be a highly emotive and challenging process, but where issues or disputes do arise, we will handle the matter sensitively and with understanding.
We are highly accomplished when it comes to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and encourage a collaborative approach wherever possible when disagreements arise between surrogates and parents. We excel in negotiation and dialogue and are able to help find amicable resolutions to what can often be the most contentious of disputes.
Starting or expanding your family is one of the most important steps you will ever take and you want to make sure that you do everything the right way. Our family law team is widely recognised for its expertise when it comes to this field of law and has not only the experience but also the compassion and understanding of the significance of this process.
Your family is the most important thing in your life, which is why we will take the time to get to know you and understand your personal circumstances, providing a fully personalised and bespoke service that meets your needs and wishes.
Recognised as one of the country’s leading, full-service law firms, and listed in the prestigious Legal 500 rankings, a national guide to recommended legal practices, we work with clients across England and Wales delivering exceptional legal advice and outstanding levels of customer service.
The team is ranked in Band 1 for Shrewsbury and the surrounding areas in the 2022 edition of Chambers UK and sits on the legal panel for the National Farmers’ Union.
Delivering excellent customer service is a priority for us and you will find that we are easily contactable, always ready to listen and readily available to provide answers to your questions in a clear and coherent manner, avoiding any use of confusing jargon or legal terminology.
By working with Lanyon Bowdler you will have a team of dedicated legal specialists who are highly skilled and experienced in this area of law working on your behalf so that you can rest assured that your family is in safe hands.
We understand that there is nothing more important than family, which is why we are proud to use our specialist skills to help couples and individuals who are longing for a child to manage the complicated and often lengthy process of fertility treatment.
We understand the emotional toll and strain that fertility struggles can take, and also the difficulties that alternative families can face in conceiving a child of their own.
A word from our Family Solicitors...
"I believe you should choose the Lanyon Bowdler family law team because we will put you and your family first. I am passionate about people, their families, and their children which is the reason I chose to practice family law; I have a deep-rooted interest in helping people and, in appropriate cases, addressing the power imbalance. I feel privileged to be able to advise people when they are at a low point in their lives and to be able to guide them through to better times.
Family law in England and Wales strives to be fair and to put children at the heart of justice. Whilst this can sometimes be difficult to achieve it is always a worthwhile aim. I hope the lasting impression I leave on a client is that I was friendly, professional, efficient and knowledgeable and that they know they can always call me for advice, should they need it.
"I enjoy finding creative solutions for clients going through separation or divorce. I help people to reach financial settlements or resolve disputes about children, either within the Court system or by voluntary agreements. My goal is to provide reassurance and confidence to clients who can be going through a difficult time. I enjoy working in our Telford office and have great working relationships with expert barristers and specialists in the area.”
We are on your side and want to help, not only with the practicalities of having a child but also with the emotional aspects of what you are going through. We want you to be reassured that we are the legal experts who truly care and will go above and beyond to help on your journey towards parenthood.
Anyone embarking on fertility treatment is already likely to be under considerable financial pressure.
At Lanyon Bowdler, we hope that our range of flexible payment options can help alleviate some of the financial burden by offering different ways to pay. From fixed fees and pay as you go arrangements to traditional hourly charging rates, we are happy to discuss your circumstances and find the plan that best fits you and your budget.
We are always completely upfront and transparent about all of our legal fees so for more information about what you can expect to pay please don’t hesitate to call us and we can talk through your options.
As one of the country’s leading full-service law firms, with a large team of family solicitors who are recognised for their expertise across the region, we can help you regardless of where you are located. We have specialist family solicitors in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford but can manage your case remotely if you live further afield. We regularly act on behalf of clients across Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales, the Midlands and beyond and can act successfully for you too.
We are renowned for achieving excellent results and for providing exceptional levels of client care, acting discreetly and with sensitivity and understanding at all times.
For warm, friendly, confidential advice about how we can help support you, contact a member of our team by calling us or by completing the online enquiry form.